2015-07-01 / Restaurant of the Week

5 Star Bar & Grill/ 5 Star Banquet

5 Star Bar and Grill is an oasis of great Indian cuisine in Long Island City, on 43rd Avenue and 21st Street just down the street from the East River with panoramic views of midtown Manhattan. The site of 5 Star has been an eatery of sorts for the last 70 years and the adjoining 5 Star Banquet Hall is a very popular venue for weddings, special events, and corporate events, accommodating up to 600 people. Mr. Binder runs a tight ship and will see to the perfect planning of your special event.

Recently, 5 Star Bar and Grill (previously called the 5 Star Diner) underwent extensive renovation and remodeling. The result is an elegant dining room with a sleek, curved, wooden bar at the entrance serving all your favorite cocktails, beer and wine to add to your pleasant dining experience. Dark wood tables provide comfortable seating for couples and large groups, and the soft lighting highlights the Indian art objects on the walls. What hasn’t changed is the exceptionally good Indian and Punjabi cuisine, and the great prices. 5 Star is so popular, they are open from 11:30am to 5:00am to accommodate all the late shift workers, taxi drivers, and club go-ers on their way home.

Stop in for a cocktail and some delicious appetizers at the bar, or settle in at one of the tables for a full meal. Nibble on crispy samosas, delicate pastries filled with potatoes, vegetables and mild spices. The accompanying tamarind and chili sauces complement this tasty starter which costs just $3. Mixed pakora is tender, fried vegetables served with dipping sauce and great for sharing. Order a cold beer and a plate of chicken seekh kabab, hot from the tandoor oven. These succulent chunks of minced chicken are mixed with fresh ginger, herbs and spices and cooked until juicy inside and crisp outside ($7.99). Lolli pop chicken or chicken wings are also juicy and delicious from the oven and make a great appetizer to share, along with some warm naan bread. Homemade lentil soup, tomato or vegetarian Manchow soup are made from scratch and are very aromatic.

Entrées include meat, chicken, seafood and vegetarian options. One of the most popular dishes is chicken tikka masala, made with tender chunks of chicken in a creamy sauce made with tomato and coconut milk, ideal for spooning over fluffy basmati rice. The tandoor oven bakes the tenderest chicken around, bursting with flavor and color after marinating in yogurt, herbs and spices ($10.99) Lamb chops and even fish are imparted with rich flavor from the tandoori oven. Lamb curry and spicy vindaloo are house favorites, not to mention the goat curry, methi and palak.

We shared a generous copper pot of lamb biryani, a delicious and satisfying rice dish from the northern part of India, served with yogurt sauce called raiti. You can have biryani with chicken, goat, vegetables or shrimp and the generous portions provide for lunch the next day. Our kind waitress brought us a side dish of sag, or spinach with ginger to complement our meal.

There are nearly a dozen vegetarian dishes such as aloo gobhi prepared with potatoes and cauliflower in spicy sauce. Dal makhani is a stew of black lentils cooked slowly for 12 hours with mild spices that is best eaten over a generous helping of fluffy basmati rice that accompanies this dish. Sag paneer uses spinach as its main ingredient, cooked with cubes of mild cheese. Malai kofta are gently fried vegetable balls cooked in mild sauce.

In Indian cuisine, bread is ordered separately, and comes in a number of tasty varieties. Naan bread is traditional, unleavened bread, somewhat like pita bread. Roti is a whole wheat variety of naan, while poori is a light, puffy, deep-fried bread. We loved the light and fluffy garlic naan and used it to soak up all the savory sauces on our plates.

While all Indian dishes are flavorful, they are not all ‘hot’. Regardless of what you’ve had, you’ll want to sweeten your palate with creamy Indian rice pudding called kheer, homemade cheese balls in sweetened milk called gulab jamun, or ice cream. Mango lassi is a fruity yogurt drink that goes well with your meal or after.

Request a viewing of 5 Star Banquet Hall where you can host your event of up to 600 people. You can rent the facility alone and bring in your own caterer, or have Mr. Binder do it all for you, with any kind of cuisine you wish. Music, flowers and photographers can be arranged too, so call Mr. Binder for one stop shopping and relax. The plentiful parking and fantastic views of Manhattan will impress your guests and the E, F, and 7 trains are all close by.

5 Star Bar and Grill is open seven days a week for a buffet lunch with 25 items for just $9.99. Dinner is served until 5a.m. Now you can enjoy a full bar or just stop in for a drink and some snacks. Dine and feast at 5 Star Bar and Grill and 5 Star Banquet Hall.

13-15 43rd Avenue / 13-05 43rd Avenue
Long Island City
Restaurant: 718.784.7444
For Catering: 718.784.8484



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